Match Preview: Melbourne Derby
We’re now just over 24 hours away from the first Melbourne Derby of the new season and the occasion looms as a huge opportunity for City to capitalise on the unprecedented collapse of their crosstown rivals.
City will be looking for a third consecutive win following their recent 3-2 and 0-2 wins over Sydney FC and Western Sydney as the side looks to recover from a slow start to the 2020/21 campaign.
The Victory’s struggles have been well-documented this season, with City fans able to enjoy the current 12th-place predicament of their Derby rival. Victory’s most-recent result was yet another loss to their bogey side Western United, who they’ve secured just a single point against from five meetings… imagine dropping points to that lot. Couldn’t be us.
City will be bolstered by the massive inclusions of Adrian Luna and Florin Berenguer to the matchday squad, allowing for rotation amongst the players who faced off against the Wanderers midweek.
Ahead of our favourite fixture of the season, here’s what we think will be the major talking points:
Establishing our dominance and not slipping up
The biggest narrative going into this Saturday’s clash, from a neutral perspective anyway, must surely be the epic fall from grace of the once-mighty Melbourne Victory, and how their dismal situation would only be compounded by a Derby loss.
From a City perspective, however, it’ll be about securing a third-consecutive win and starting to build some serious momentum as we charge back up the table following a disappointing start to the season.
It goes without saying, then, that a City loss would be a disaster, both in terms of a halt in our progression and in allowing Victory to pick itself up off the canvas when we had the opportunity to land an almighty, demoralizing blow.
With Derbies, it always seems to be that the out-of-form team performs better on the night, so we’ll need to be careful that this opportunity doesn’t pass us by.
Voting with feet
Just a few weeks ago, there were talks of this Derby being played between the league’s bottom two teams and the effect that might have on crowd figures…
Thanks to one of those teams not being utter shite, we’re now able to enjoy a somewhat more respectable clash between seventh and 12th, but that mightn’t take away too much from what could be an underwhelming turnout.
With the 2020/21 season producing the lowest average crowd figures in A-League history – and comfortably so – anything close to the 50% capacity crowd that is permitted would be a massive achievement.
Nabbout to bring sweet, sweet Victory tears?
Ok, enough negativity, how GOOD would an Andrew Nabbout goal be this Saturday against his former side?
We mentioned in our review of the Wanderers win that the ex-Victory winger has come incredibly close to netting his first for City on multiple occasions, and made the point that if his (admittedly quite short) goalless run were to endure then he’s really only got his own composure/finishing to blame.
There’s just something about the Derby that’s getting us all twitchy about placing a few bucks (#gambleresponsibly) on Nabbout to score his first City goal in front of a fervent Victory home crowd who’d be pretty displeased about it all.
A bit like poetry, really…